Monastery Soup by Flavio, an Urban Peasant

A recipe for maximizing bitter greens from farm (CSA) shares and healthy back yard gardens. Shallots, Leeks and Beer make an incredible Belgian-style seasoning worthy of a monastery.


4 tablespoons of Extra Virg. Olive Oil or Organic Butter

1 Shallot, diced

1 Leek, rinsed and sliced finely into rounds(white part, some pale green is ok)

1 Large Bunch of Bitter Greens such as Escarole or Tokyo Bekana Chinese Cabbage, rinsed of sand (usually at the base) and coarsely chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 twelve oz bottle of room temperature bland beer (or a Gluten Free beer such as Red Bridge; or a non-alcoholic beer, although all the alcohol is cooked out)

Salt to taste

4-6 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream or Plain Yogurt (optional)


 In a 6 quart (medium) saucepan on low heat

Pour in 4 tablespoons of olive oil or butter and stir in the finely diced shallot and then the thinly sliced leek.

Stir about every 5 minutes and let cook on low for at least 15 minutes (don’t brown or burn)

Scoop the bunch of greens into the saucepan (yes, it will be full!) and carefully stir so the seasoning coats as much of the leaves as possible.

Turn up the heat to medium and cover for 2-3 minutes.

Stir steadily to wilt down the greens–they will shrink!

Once the greens are mostly wilted, pour in the Beer, cover and bring to a light boil

Boil for 5-10 minutes and then turn down to low; give the mixture a stir.

Add salt and adjust to taste– add water if you want soupier soup.

Remove from the heat and stir in cream or yogurt (optional). You could add this individually to each bowl when you serve, also.

Serve with toasted bread for a hearty winter lunch for 2 people. Or just eat it all yourself as a complete rustic meal. Either way it’s yummy. If you choose to pair with a beer, Chimay Red Label or Ommegang Dubble is the choice.  You might consider attending an Urban Peasant Beer Brewing class and make your own for the season. Salut!

ALTERNATE: Let soup cool and pour into a blender, blending carefully in small batches and then reheat for a creamy winter soup. Serve with a dollop of cream or yogurt and home-made croutons.